So You Wrote a Script and Wonder What’s Next | Script Revolution

So You Wrote a Script and Wonder What’s Next

Introduction: 

Some screenwriters just standout and, even though I have thousands in my network, Marven Likness is one of those people. The resident pool-shark in chief has been a regular in the Script Revolution zoom chats and recently blew participants away with his pitch for "One in a Trillion". When I recently left a blog post within a Facebook group, Marven left a brilliant comment explaining what he'd experienced trying to get his scripts out there. I said, "Dude, you've gotta turn this into a blog post!" and here we are. Enjoy Marven's take on what comes next after writing your script - CJ

I consider myself an emerging new writer (at 50+) so take these suggestions with a grain of salt. I will attempt to show you my experiences and expose what I have experienced in the industry thus far.

I see all the time, "I wrote a story now what do I do?". I was in the same boat a couple of years ago. In many ways, I am still there floating amongst a sea of writers.

A screenwriter today does not just write. They are a graphic designer, social media manager, student (always learning), and again so much more. If your hoping that a manager will do all that for you will be sourly disappointed.

My History

Feel free to skip this section and get to the good stuff below. I have been a part-time actor for years and have recently been changing stories I have written for myself into film script format. I reached out to a few contests that offer feedback. Since then I have found a few contests I liked due to contact and networking. Most are just there to take my money.

I started with one script. I dreamt of the story every night for weeks/months before I started to write it. I saw images in my head that were hard to formulate onto paper. No matter what I tried, I could not produce an image in a physical form that could show others what a wonderful world I was witnessing. That year I became a writer.

I am a part time actor. So I decided to formulate the visions in my head into a script. After months of writing, I developed what I though was a script. I passed my work onto friends in the film business. To my surprise, some actually read them and liked them. One puzzling thing I got back were the questions; how old are the characters, where does the story take place, what time of day is it?... To my dismay, even though I had seen many scripts in my acting experience I soon realized I had a misleading vision of script form.

Learn Script Form!

The quickest way a script to gets shredded is to not follow script form. Many think they know script form but can't get into a contest or have someone in the business read their script. This is because proper script form is a major requirement. Every aspect of a proper script has a function. These aspects are to inform the reader your vision as quickly a possible, a vision of what the film needs to be produced.

Scriptwriting Software

Final Draft (finaldraft.com)

Fully functioning screenwriter software. Pay for use after trial. I hear if you have the money for it get it. It comes with so many tools it boggles the mind. I personally have only checked out the trial version but never took the plunge for the whole package.

Celtx (celtx.com)

Web based screenwriting software. Free for limited projects. I used this when I started writing true script form. It taught me loads about script form and helped me implant my vision into script form. I personally did not like the "Created using Celtx" imprinted on the bottom in the free version.

WriterDuet (writerduet.com)

Web based screenwriting software. Free for limited projects. When I was ready to expand my projects, I shopped around for good screenwriting software on a budget. I am not disappointed at my choice. I especially like the way Write Duet can take a story in book form and switch it into a rough version of script form. Or take my thoughts from a pdf and incorporate them directly into a script.

Prewrite (prewrite.com)

Wweb based screenwriting planner. Free for one story. Prewrite is not a screenwriting software but a story creator. It will output your stories into a script file that is easily loadable into any screenwriting software. I highly recommend you check it out. It has helped me order my story creation into a viable organized experience. Well worth the low yearly cost.

I am sure there are many other ways to write a script but these have been my go-to for my creations thus far. Feel free to offer up suggestions to ones I have not found.

Diversify Your Portfolio

Spec scripts in this day and age are not always sold on the script itself. When a producer is looking to purchase a script, they are more likely to hire the scriptwriter for the project along with the script.

Also what you have written may entice a producer, they may like the style but want to see other work that may be more in their wheelhouse for production.

Sales Literature

For your script to be found, you need to develop a host of advertisements. This includes anything that might get eyes on your project.

Logline

Hands down the most important part of the script advertising process. The trouble is. How can you break down your script into less than two sentences? A logline can make or break the chances of your script being found.

Poster

For my larger projects I have hired a graphic artist to produce my posters. It was well worth the expense. You start seeing comments like "What a great poster. Tell me more about your project." I had one of my favourites created by Creepy Duck Design.

The artwork can also be used for back drops when you pitch your project, Facebook page headers, included in script contests and a general show of your commitment to your project.

I have also created my own. I am getting better at it but, to be honest, they may be good for a one page or a grade-6 art project but not good enough for a professional advertisement of a great script.

One Page and Two Page Pitch

This is a pamphlet that introduces your script to producers. I have also found it is a less expensive way to pitch on Stage32.

Try and make the pitch about the story. What you’re selling. The pitch should include title, logline, small poster, synopsis, story world, character breakdowns, what makes your story special, a small amount of accomplishments, and a very brief bio. Some say you cannot add external links but I still put in one and two here and there.

Summary

What does your story tell the audience? If you had to tell your story on a 1-3 minute commercial what would that commercial look like?

Pitch Deck or series Bible

This is the complete outline of your story. It should answer all questions that are not in the script. Included should be title page with logline, description of contents, synopsis, history of the story, story world, visual references, and anything you can get your hands on that can inform the reader of your project.
I personally find this the hardest challenge when preparing for a pitch. Not always needed at the start but you better have one handy when someone asks for one. I know for a fact that in the past I have lost a pitch because I did not have one ready.

Clean up your social media!

I can't express this enough. The first thing a producer will do when they are even remotely interested in investing their time into one of your projects is they will check out your internet presence.
If you conduct yourself inappropriately on social media, you will be dropped like a hot potato... Unless they are looking for that sort of thing.

Advertise

A script can not be produced unless it is in the hands of someone that can make it. Special note: Before this step. Protect your work! This means emailing yourself a copy many times during the creation, filing copyright, and documenting everywhere your work goes.

Once you have a decent script and have had it protected it needs to be found.

Your Brand

You should advertise yourself as much if not more than your script. This means getting involved in social media and create a huge digital presence. When you Google yourself or your scripts (on a public computer), do you show up?

I have included some of my own links to show, no matter what, take every chance to advertise yourself.

Places to Advertise Your Scripts

Facebook (facebook.com/groups/198093391524445)

Create a fan page of your work. Word of mouth can be powerful. Even though your friends and family may not read your scripts others they know might be interested.

Adobe Portfolio (marvenlikness.myportfolio.com)

I use this as a virtual splash page for my stories. I limit this to posters with one and two page outlines.

Twitter (twitter.com/the_pool_shark)

Snippets of enticing advertising in less than 280 characters per post. I know I should utilize this more.

IMDB (imdb.com/name/nm10863550)

Yes you can put your projects in development on IMDB. It ain’t easy but looks really cool.

Linkedin (linkedin.com)

You're a commodity, this is a connection to that. Another one I need to work on more.

Script Revolution (scriptrevolution.com/profiles/marven-likness)

This is a great site to host your scripts. It not only shows your work in script form but can also be a huge input on how others like your scripts and a sales medium. Take the time to fill out your logline, summary, and pitch deck. Add video clips (may be a trailer or even just you reading your hook for your script). Links to Scripthop and Prewrite are also awesome tools. Since I joined I have also taken part in many group Zoom meeting where I learned a ton and had fun with peers.

ScriptHop (packet.scripthop.com/marven_likness_one_in_a_trillionfeature)

Hosting site for scripts. Producers visit when shopping for scripts.

Stage32 (stage32.com/profile/782931/about)

I am on this site almost daily. It is a huge resource for anyone in film. Constant training, blogs, forums and pitching opportunities.

iPitch (ipitch.tv)

I have not been impressed by this one but if you want to pay per post this might work for you.

Coverfly (coverfly.com)

Another splash page of your work. Also a great place for fairly trust worthy competitions. Scripts entered into competitions get there chance to be posted on the "Red List" and get a rating. I was humbled/excited when one of my scripts made it into a monthly top rank.

The Black List (blcklst.com)

A highly publicized ranking system for scripts. I haven't played with this one much. May be I am wrong but seems kind of pricey for my level at the moment.

Film Freeway (filmfreeway.com/MarvenLikness)

For the most part, I like Film Freeway. I have entered many contests through this portal. One caveat I have is do your own diligence when entering contests, especially through this site. Check the contest out before committing. This site lists almost all contests around the globe. The good, the bad and the ugly.

One way I check to see if the contest is above board is checking out the social media about the contest outside of Film Freeway.

Join the writing community.

Joining forums on places like Script Revolution and Stage32 have been very beneficial in growing my film network and improving my craft.

Get involved in your local film scene.

You don't need to be a main actor. It be as simple as being an extra on sets. Everyone from film students to Indy feature producers are constantly looking for help. You will meet others in the business and can offer your services as someone that knows script form and can help others develop their stories. In my area, I meet many on set I have worked with in the past. Almost like guild or a support group.

Practice Writing for the Industry

There are many sites that host people looking to create scripts. Even working for free can sometimes give you a better insight on your writing skills and build contacts that can lead to work in the industry. I have found two that have helped me;

International Screenwriters Association (networkisa.org)

I pitch my scripts here and pick up the odd assignment through their job board.

International Association of Professional Writers & Editors (iapwe.org)

I see this as more of a professional job board site. If you want to become a writer in a writing room, this may be one you should check out.

Sum it up

Your going to get discouraged and rejected frequently. Write for yourself first. I personally do all the above while working a 40hr work week, part time actor, ASL (American Sign Language) advocate, and dealing with my age, hearing loss and Meniere's disease. It consumes my days and sometimes my nights but I have found joy the passion of writing. My dream is to be a full-time writer some day. I believe the above steps will be some of the reasons for me getting there.

I hope this can help you. Thank you for your time.

About The Author

Marven Likness's picture
Real name: 

Actor, Writer, Sign Language Advocate/Consultant

After an incident that cost me most of my hearing in 2016, I have reactivated my creative side. Being a part time actor, I channeled my thoughts into script form to deal with my new reality. Although I am always working on a multitude of projects, I keep coming back to a series I created called One in a Trillion. With it's first release to the public in 2020 it has been amazing to see and hear the feed back I get.

I write mostly...Read more

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Comments

wilfred cheng's picture

Thanks very much for the tips. This is the aspect I hate most: marketing. It's energy consuming. You have to have a good amount of self-confidence to keep on moving forward despite all the rejections. In any case, kudos.

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